Ujjain: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made a veiled attack on Western countries and their "expansionist" designs and pointed out that their "holier than thou" attitude is primarily responsible for challenges like terrorism and global warming.
"Tere raaste se mera raasta zyada sahi hai (My way is better than yours). This holier than thou approach is dragging the world towards conflicts," the prime minister said, addressing the International Convention on Universal Message of Simhasthon on the sidelines of the Simhasth Kumbh here.
"Vistar-vad (expansionist design) - is also leading us towards conflict. Time has changed. Expansionist style is not a solution to problems. We should not go horizontal. It is not a solution. We need to go vertical and raise ourselves from within," Modi said in the presence of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and other dignitaries.
Paying rich tributes to India's pluralism and its "inherent conflict management" traditions, Modi said often an outsider feels that India is a society always in conflict. "But the conflict management the world is trying to evolve in big seminars is actually present as an inherent virtue in us. Otherwise, we would not have been following and paying abeyance to two extreme thinking," he said.
Prime Minister Modi said: "We Indians worship Lord Rama for his obedience to his father and in the same breath we glorify Prahlad who disobeyed his father. Similarly, we hail Sita, who obeyed her husband, and also Meera, who disobeyed her husband. This only shows that people here know how to handle conflicts."
However, he also hastened to underline that a right balance ought to be stuck between traditions and modernity and use the traditional knowledge and human values in a more scientific manner.
"It is also important that in the name of tradition, we should not promote unscientific matters and superstitions. We have to draw lessons from the past values, but reflect on them in the context of modern social values," the prime minister said and maintained that earlier going overseas was considered a taboo, but it is no longer relevant.
"There was a time when crossing the seas was considered unholy but that has changed. Likewise, some traditions can also change with time," he underlined.
At the same time, he said efforts should be made to tell the world "in the language they understand" the sanctity and prowess of Indian values.
Simhastha Kumbh Mela is one of the world's largest spiritual gatherings held once in 12 years when devotees, including saints, take a dip in the Kshipra river at Ujjain in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
Modi said the world over people often call Indians "unorganised" but such a grand gathering could take place at Ujjain without any invitation to participants or even without making any accommodation arrangements for participants.
Trying to lay emphasis on such mammoth gatherings like Kumbh every 12 years, he said these occasions provide an opportunity to analyse the recent past as well as create a roadmap for the future.
The prime minister released a 51-point 'Simhastha Declaration' jointly with Sri Lankan President Sirisena and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan.
He said Kumbh and such mammoth gathering of saints and people from across the country besides talking about "Moksh (salvation)" should also deliberate about more mundane issues like the importance of tree plantation, girl education and keeping the society and the world clean.
He recalled that once former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had urged citizens to skip an evening meal in solidarity with the poor of the country and so many people did exactly that. He said in the same spirit people have given up their cooking gas subsidy and this money is now being used to help the rural poor.
"We belong to a tradition where even a beggar says, may good happen to the person who gives me and even the person who does not," the prime minister said.
President Sirisena, who spoke earlier, referred to the long standing ties between India and Sri Lanka.
Sirisena said that his first overseas visit after being elected president last year was to India, and that Modi returned the bilateral visit later.
Sirisena is on a two-day visit. He held bilateral talks with Modi in New Delhi on Friday evening.